News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th April 2009

The Royal Opera House has announced its 2009/2010 season. Royal Opera highlights will include: new productions of Wagner's Tristan Und Isolde, directed by Christof Loy; Tchaikovsky's The Tsarina's Slippers, with the Royal Ballet, directed by Francesca Zambello; Prokofiev's The Gambler, directed by Richard Jones; Handel's Tamerlano, with Placido Domingo, directed by Graham Vick; Verdi's Aida, directed by David McVicar; Massenet's Manon, directed by Laurent Pelly; and Thomas Arne's Artaxerxes, directed by Martin Duncan; plus revivals including Simon Boccanegra with Placido Domingo, Il turco in Italia, La fille du regiment, L'Heure Espagnole and Gianni Schicchi, Salome, Powder Her Face, Don Carlo, The Rake's Progress and La Traviata.

Royal Ballet highlights will include new works by Wayne McGregor, Jonathan Watkins and Liam Scarlett, plus revivals of Mayerling, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Les Patineurs and Tales Of Beatrix Potter, Romeo And Juliet, La Fille mal gardee and Cinderella; and mixed bills featuring pieces such as Agon, Sphinx and Electric Counterpoint. Further information can be found on the ROH web site, via the link from London Venues, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Northern Broadsides/West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Shakespeare's Othello, with Lenny Henry, Conrad Nelson, Jessica Harris, Richard Standing, David Beckford, Matt Connor, Andy Cryer, Victoria Gee, Geoff Leesley, Chris Pearse, Simon Holland Roberts and Sara Poyzer, directed by Barrie Rutter, which is currently touring, will transfer to Trafalgar Studios 1, opening on 18th September. It is presented by Sonia Friedman Productions.

This year's summer festival at the Almeida Theatre, running from 8th July to 1st August, will include Slung Low presenting a multimedia promenade performance Last Seen, written by Simon Burt, Lolita Chakrabarti and Matthew David, an investigation of the world of people who go missing, directed by Alan Lane; New York theatre company The Theater Of The Emerging American Moment with The American Capitalism Project, which journeys across America in search of an unbiased portrait of American capitalism; GULP presenting the premiere of Tanya Ronder's Or Nearest Offer, reflecting on how everything is for sale in contemporary society, directed by Vik Sivalingam; and Tiata Fahodzi performing a workshop production of Michael Bhim's The Golden Hour, about a doctor who suspects that an African baby has been brought into the Britain illegally, directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr.

On The Casting Couch: Ciaran Kellgren, Abby Ford, Jonathan Hyde, Karen Ascoe and Itxaso Moreno will head the cast of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, opening on 10th June; Michael Gambon, Alex Jennings, Frances de la Tour and Adrian Scarborough will lead the company in Alan Benett's new play, provisionally titled The Habit Of Art, opening at the National Theatre in November; and Sheridan Smith, Duncan James and Alex Gaumond will head the cast of Legally Blonde The Musical, opening at the Savoy Theatre on 12th January.

The Royal Theatre in Northampton is staging an Alan Ayckbourn season, comprising Just Between Ourselves, which reveals the hairline cracks in two suburban marriages through the celebrations of four birthdays, directed by Mark Rosenblatt, from 22nd May; Private Fears In Public Places, in which six people looking for love and companionship against the backdrop of a modern city find their lives intersecting, directed by Laurie Sansom, from 22nd June; and Man Of The Moment, about a retired celebrity criminal on the 'Costa del Crime', directed by Ayckbourn, from 27th July.

The Warehouse Theatre Croydon is holding its 24th International Playwriting Festival, in partnership with Italian theatre association Extra Candoni and Teatro Ena in Cyprus. It is in three parts: a competition for previously unproduced full length plays with entries from all over the world, followed by a series of workshops and readings of ten shortlisted plays, leading on to the presentation of four finalists in March 2010. The deadline for entries is 30th June. Further information and an entry form can be found on the Warehouse web site via the link from the London Venues, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch at the Open Air Theatre: Samantha Spiro, Sean Campion, Anthony O'Donnell, Ben Mansfield and Anneika Rose will head the cast of Much Ado About Nothing, opening on 1st June; Susan Wooldridge will lead in The Importance Of Being Earnest, opening on 8th July; and Samantha Spiro will play the title role in the musical Hello Dolly, opening on 10th August.

The 17th Hampton Court Palace Festival runs from 3rd to 21st June, with a series of events in the specially designed theatre, built in the Base Court of the Palace. Artists taking part include Jose Carreras, Jools Holland, Russell Watson, Level 42, David Garrett, Beverley Knight and Lemar, James Morrison, Chloe Hanslip and Freddy Kempf, plus a Best Of Broadway concert featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Rachel Tucker, Mary Carewe, Ria Jones, Michael Dore and Graham Bickley. Glyndebourne style, audiences are invited to explore the Palace and picnic in the grounds either before the events or during extended supper intervals. Further information can be found on the HCPF web site via link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Forthcoming productions at the Soho Theatre will include Oladipo Agboluaje's Iya-Ile (The First Wife), a mix of comedy, political satire and family intrigue set in Lagos in 1989, with Jude Akuwudike, Babatunde Aleshe, Tobi Bakare, Estella Daniels, Antonia Okonma, Marcy Oni, Nick Oshikanlu, Javone Prince and Chucky Venn, directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr, from 14th May, a co-production with Tiata Fahodzi; and Stella Feehily's Dreams Of Violence, a new contemporary comedy about love, death and responsibility, directed by Max-Stafford-Clark, from 9th July, a co-production with Out Of Joint.